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The National Urban League has released its annual report on the State of Black America for the 41st time, a report which has become one of the most highly-anticipated benchmarks around racial equality in America.

It measures the progress of minorities compared to Caucasians in the U.S. Its equality index is valued at an even 100 percent for whites, and the quality of life in categories such as economics, employment, education, health, housing, and criminal justice for African Americans, and now Hispanic Americans, is measured against that.

The 20-page report entitled, ‘Protect Our Progress’ is surely a reference to what many see as the rollback—or anticipated rollback—of progress made under the eight-year Obama administration.

Marc Morial, president of the NUL, said as much in his letter at the beginning of the 2017 report, saying the progress under President Barack Obama, “is threatened.”

Recent proposals before Congress would shift desperately needed resources away from underfunded public schools toward our heavily-invested-in military. The federal budget currently under consideration would slash the budget of the Departments of Health, Education, Housing, and Labor—a blueprint for a sick, uneducated, homeless and unemployed America. Suggested double-digit cuts, or the outright elimination of funding for vital programs and services, would devastate already vulnerable citizens and working families,” he wrote.

Here are the takeaways in the major categories:

• The overall equality index for African Americans is 72.3%, up from 72.2% the year before, no significant change here.
• The equality index for black Americans when it comes to education grew from 77.4% to 78.2% (due to a large decline in the share of African-American students who have teachers with less than three years of experience; a higher percentage of African Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 earning associate’s degrees; and increased home literacy activities for African-Americans.)
• The health index for black Americans grew from 79.4% in 2016 to 80% in the 2017 report, partly due to greater access to healthcare because of the Affordable Care Act and a decrease in the number of overweight children.
• The social justice index for black Americans dipped from 60.9% to 57.4% mostly due to how the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports data on traffic stops, but also an increase in the incarceration of African Americans following an arrest.
• In the category of civic engagement, African Americans actually surpass whites, according to the Urban League, with the number between 2015 and 2016 remaining at 100.6 percent.

New to the 2017 State of Black America is the “Solutions Circle,” a special feature that shines a spotlight on the innovative, solutions-oriented programming offered by select National Urban League affiliates.

For more detailed information, visit www.stateofblackamerica.org to access the 2017 State of Black America.

SOURCE: National Urban League

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